1 Peter 1:24-25
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass wither, and the flower thereof falls away:…
On what grounds does the apostle assign to the gospel exclusively this high character, that it endureth forever?
I. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH THE GOSPEL REVEALS FOR JUSTIFYING THE UNGODLY IS EVERLASTING. Mankind are guilty before God; and what blessing is so necessary as justification? Of what avail are rank, power, wealth, learning, and even Church privileges, of which so many boast, for acceptance with God? What, then, is the glory of the self-justiciary? It is fading and transient as the flowers of the field. And what presumption in sinful mortal man to hold up any of these things, or all of them put together, if that were in his power, as his righteousness, in direct opposition to the declared will of his Creator and Lord. Is the God who made him to be dictated to by him? No. That Word, fixing the mode of acceptance, endureth forever, while the glory which man opposes to it shall wither, and leave its worshippers covered with confusion. The certainty and the perfect reasonableness of this result must impress us more deeply if we consider the character of the righteousness which the Word of the Lord reveals and establishes. It is absolutely perfect, for it includes obedience to both the precept and the penalty of the law of God; it is divinely excellent, for it was performed by the Son of God, who condescended to assume our frail nature that He might perform it; it is the most glorious production of Divine wisdom and love: it hath magnified the law and made it honourable; it hath thus propitiated God and abolished death.
II. THE VITAL PRINCIPLE WHICH THE WORD OF GOD INSPIRES IS IMPERISHABLE. The only life which we derive from Adam is feeble, terrestrial, mortal. Its activities, aims, and enjoyments correspond to its nature and origin. They all centre in things worldly and perishing. The gospel is "the ministration of life." The Lord Jesus conveys by it the influences of His quickening Spirit into the soul that was alienated from God and absorbed in earful, and produces in it the new creature, even faith working by love. The truth which the Word testifies concerning Christ being thus known and believed becomes the principle of a new life, the activities of which appear in the outgoings of the soul towards Him in trust, hope, love, gratitude, submission. By the illuminations of His Word Christ lives in that soul, and exerts a mighty power over all its faculties — a power which inspires it with His own views, spirit, and aims. Actuated by the vital principles which His words create — for His words are spirit and life — the mind connects all things with Christ and with God, converts them into means of instruction, into motives to love and obedience, into materials for praise. It regards its most common mercies as the fruits of Divine bounty, the expressions of the Divine goodness and care. It submits to privations and afflictions, and endures them as the salutary discipline of a wise father; and the most ordinary occurrences it contemplates as the dispensations of Him who makes "all things work together for good" to them that love Him. The relations, then, and pleasures, and pains, and intercourse, and pursuits, and occurrences which are peculiar to the present transient state, and which are so insignificant in themselves, because the state to which they belong is so fluctuating and evanescent, rise into dignity and importance, from the influence which the Divine Word exerts on the mind in which it lives, and become the means at once of present fellowship with God and of training up an immortal spirit for a holy and blessed eternity. Now this vital principle, so excellent in itself, is imperishable. In the present state, indeed, its power is small, its activities are feeble and irregular, and, of course, its influence is very limited. But let us recollect that it is only very lately since it came into being, and that it exists in the midst of much which is most hostile to it, and which continually opposes its growth. It shall exist, and notwithstanding the bleakness of the soil in which it is planted, and the noxious exhalations which rise around it and the storms which assail it, shall wax stronger and stronger; for the seed is the Word of the Lord which liveth and abideth forever.
III. THE HONOUR TO WHICH THE GOSPEL RAISES BELIEVERS, AND THE BEAUTIES WITH WHICH IT ADORNS THEM, ARE UNFADING. It dignifies them with intimate relations to Christ, introduces them into God's favour, exalts them to be His sons, gives them access with confidence to His gracious presence, a claim on His protection and care, and makes them kings and priests unto God. And these are not only enduring, but ever-increasing honours; at least their transcendent excellence and glory shine with increasing lustre, and the longer and the more fully they are enjoyed they are the more highly valued, and their power to ennoble and to bless is more abundantly experienced and more humbly and gratefully acknowledged. They are enduring, for the loving kindness of God, which is the sum of them all, is immutable, and the charter which conveys them is irrevocable, for it is confirmed by the blood of Christ and the oath of God.
IV. EVERY HOPE WHICH IS FOUNDED ON THIS WORD SHALL BE MORE THAN FULFILLED. What blessed hopes does it authorise and encourage the believer to cherish! — the hope that God will never fail him nor forsake him, that the Divine Spirit shall be his guide and comforter, that his heavenly Advocate shall secure to him mercy and grace in every time of need, that the Lord will perfect that which concerneth him. Oh! are not these glorious hopes, not only worthy of intellectual and immortal beings, but hopes which ennoble and purify and bless them! Can the greatest and best portion of worldly good which human heart ever ventured to anticipate bear comparison with them for a single moment? And that hope rests on a sure foundation. It is built on the living and imperishable Word of Him who is eternal and almighty, whose name is Faithful and True, and sooner shall heaven and earth pass than one iota or tittle of His Word remain unfulfilled.
(James Stark, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: